It’s the start of the New Year and if you’re lucky you’ll have a shiny new calendar to hang on the wall. Make use of it! By planning what you’re going to do throughout the year, you’ll save yourself time and money in the long run.
After marking your own birthday on your new calendar in big shiny letters, here’s how to put it to good use…
Book annual leave
One of the first things you need to mark up is when you’re going to take your annual leave from work. If you want the school holidays off, you’ll need to book early or someone else in the office will beat you to it.
Make note of school events
Try to find out key dates from your kids’ school as soon as possible – such as shows, assemblies and sports days, so you won’t miss any special moments. You may only need to take a half-day for some of these, so keep your own running tally of how much leave you’ve taken. Keep a few days in reserve in case of emergencies.
Tell the babysitter
Life can get a little hectic at times so don’t be surprised if a few dates and events pass you by. However, to avoid this becoming a common occurrence, make sure others know of these special events in your calendar. By telling the babysitter and booking in the grandparents in advance, they’ll be able to act as a reminder.
Make the most of the sales
Copy over birthdays from last year’s calendar, updating the ages. Then go back one week and write a reminder to send a card. Now work out how many people you need to buy presents for across the year and mark down a shopping day around the time of the major sales (late spring/early summer, late summer/early autumn), when you can buy as many presents as possible in one go.
If friends or family have special birthdays this year, you’ll need to budget for any celebrations or major gifts. Create a savings account (or a jar on a high shelf) where you can pop in small contributions in the run-up to the big day. Now work back six weeks and mark a date on the calendar for planning any special surprises, get-togethers and trips.
Don’t forget your anniversary
It’s also important not to forget other key dates such as Mother’s Day and your anniversary. Assign a date to start looking for restaurant deals and money-off vouchers and a deadline for booking a table.
Holidays and days out
You may have your summer holiday booked already, but pick a date for half-term or school holiday outings with the kids now and you can line up 2for1 vouchers and rail travel well in advance to avoid paying through the nose.
Of course this is sounding good in theory, but how often do we check the calendar?
For supreme organisation brownie points, input all your key dates into your mobile phone, and then set it to annoy you with reminders.